Best Albums: Man Man, Arctic Monkeys, Balance and Composure, Obits, Cock & Swan, Tremor

This week’s best albums

– With its fifth album, quirk-rock quintet Man Man offers a “band reboot,” merging its Tom Waits-ian, trop-pop weirdness with Talking Heads inspirations, old-school soul, and other oddities.

Arctic Monkeys makes another surprise transition, this time with a slinky nightclub record that channels bluesy rock riffs from the ’70s.

Balance and Composure, among the new guard of indie-rock bands that actually rock, makes an advancement of musical and songwriting depth.

– Rick Froberg’s Obits, on its third LP, better balances its members’ blues, rock, psych, and world-music influences with the more familiar snarl of their post-hardcore precursors.

– Following a more acoustic LP, Seattle duo Cock & Swan crafts an album of washed-out ambience, breathy vocals, glitching syncopation, and pop nostalgia.

– Argentinian “folklorica” outfit Tremor utilizes human voice for the first time, offering a poppier blend of folk and electronica.

Honorable mentions

The Weeknd: Kiss Land (Republic)

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MP3 Premiere: Balance and Composure’s “You Can’t Fix Me” and “Say”

Braid / Balance and ComposureBraid / Balance and Composure split EP (No Sleep, 2/26/13)

“You Can’t Fix Me”

Balance and Composure: “You Can’t Fix Me”

“Say”

Balance and Composure: “Say”

Next week No Sleep Records is releasing a split EP that pairs the old and new guards of indie rock. Each with a couple of brand-new tracks, the recently reactivated Braid and the up-and-coming Balance and Composure both are following an extended player with another quick dose of pretty and emotional rock tunes.

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